If a teacher asks a student to do something, most will comply. That’s the nature of a trusting and compliant relationship, where students believe that those in positions of authority wouldn’t tell them to do something wrong. But if the teacher is Kelly Racca at Clovis North High School in California, there could be a problem, according to a lawsuit.
From the Fresno Bee:
Two Clovis North High School students have sued the Clovis Unified School District, saying a school employee asked them to participate in a drug sting on campus without the consent of their parents or police.
The plan allegedly hatched by Kelly Racca last March went horribly wrong: after the drug buy, the two students were unlawfully interrogated by police and threatened with arrest, the Fresno County Superior Court lawsuit says.
It began when Racca convinced a female student to go undercover for her to buy marijuana from another student. She was running a sting, all by her lonesome. There were no cops involved. Apparently, there was no one else in the school district involved as well. It was just Racca. Drug Warrior Racca, to save the school from demon weed. Using students as her weapons in the war against drugs.
Of course, when it all went public, Racca got suddenly shy.
Racca and another school official then encouraged one of the students to lie to protect Racca from being disciplined, the lawsuit says.
According to the suit, the scheme wasn’t particularly sophisticated. The female student was told to make a buy with money provided by Racca. She was uncomfortable, so the female student co-opted a male student as well, and it was agreed that they would do it if Racca would help get an expelled student reinstated. So the deal was done, with Racca and then to buy the pot.
The next day, however, school administrators called Mary out of her class for a meeting with two Clovis police officers. Without notifying her parents, police interrogated Mary and she was told to write her account of the drug buy.
After police threatened to arrest her, Mary waited in the Student Services office for many hours without any explanation of what would happen to her and without her parents being contacted. She was finally allowed to leave without being arrested.
School officials and police officers called John into a conference room and advised him of his Miranda rights. John asked to call his father, but his request was denied. School officials and police then questioned him at length, ignoring his pleas to contact his father. “John was not allowed to leave the conference room during this interrogation,” the lawsuit says.
Compounding Racca’s drug warrior scheme, the police denied her two undercover operatives of their rights. But then Racca raced to their defense, explaining how it was all at her behest, under her control, and certainly not any wrongdoing on the part of the students, right? Well, not exactly:
Sometime later, Student Services counselor Wesley Flowers brought Mary to his office, where Racca pleaded with Mary to retract her statements about Racca orchestrating the sting operation, the lawsuit says.
After Racca left the office, Flowers also encouraged Mary “to essentially lie about the event so that Racca would not be subject to criticism by her superiors,” the lawsuit says.
[The student's attorney, Stephen] Cornwell said Monday neither Mary nor John were advised by Racca that her plan was illegal and a violation of the school district’s zero-tolerance drug policy. The two students assumed Racca was authorized to conduct her plan, he said.
This bizarre scenario, fortunately, didn’t result in either of the students being arrested and prosecuted. They were, of course, subject to interrogation, and their role in Racca’s scheme became known in school, subjecting them to ridicule and ostracism as snitches, together with the “potential physical harm by drug-related gang actions.”
It’s astounding that someone like Racca, in a position of responsibility over students, would take it upon herself to engage in such a scheme on her own. Had this been run by the police, it would have been outrageous, without the parents of the students made fully aware and approving of their children’s involvement. And any parent who agreed to such a thing needs to have their head examined.
Racca’s scheme reflects the fragile relationship that exists between adults and students in schools, and the potential for risk to students at the hands of those entrusted with their well-being. But the demon marijuana must be stopped, and if someone else doesn’t do it, then Racca must be the drug warrior to save the day.
Had a few things gone awry, there could be a student dead or injured. There could be two students prosecuted and convicted. And Racca would walk away, because the students shouldn’t reveal her involvement because she might be disciplined.
Of course, the story makes no mention of what the Clovis Unified School District did to Racca as a result of all this, though she still works “part-time in a sub capacity” for the school district, because she is certainly the type of person who should be around high school students.
H/T Rick Horowitz